NEW YORK — Carpal tunnel syndrome.
David Price missed his start in New York on Wednesday night — the biggest game of the year thus far in this stellar Sox season — because of carpal tunnel syndrome.
And not only that. According to the Red Sox, Price is suffering from minor carpal tunnel syndrome.
Could things get any more hideous for Boston’s $217 million starter? Price is forever walking around Fenway with a target on his back because of his salary, his playoff history, his Dennis Eckersley ambush, and all the other quotes and stunts that indicate he is ill-equipped for Boston baseball. And now he misses a start in New York because of a condition that possibly was brought on by playing too many video games?
Man, it’s days like this that I wish Bob Feller were still alive. Rapid Robert would have had a field day with this one.
I e-mailed Hall of Famer Jim Palmer asking for a comment and Palmer wrote back, “There are three nerves that affect the way your hand feels. I think it is that, and Karma with a capital K.’’
If you play at Fenway, the best way to make Sox fans like you is to play well against the Yankees. Ask Nomar Garciaparra. He had to be traded after that infamous night in New York in 2004 when he refused to play while Derek Jeter was diving into the stands in an extra-inning Yankee win. Now, just as the ancient rivalry is being renewed with gusto, Price looks like he’s avoiding the Bombers. One of my clever readers suggested that Price this week came down with a case of “Bronx-itis.’’
Totally unfair, of course. It’s just bad luck with Price and the Yankees this year. It was bad luck that Price had to bail after one inning of his first start vs. the Yankees in April. That was the night the Baby Bombers cuffed him around for four runs in the first and then he had to leave due to tingling in his fingers. The Sox said it was a circulation issue. It was a brutally cold night.
Fast forward to last Sunday in Texas when it was 84 degrees and Price had the same symptoms when he was throwing a bullpen session. The Sox sent him back to Boston for tests. Wednesday Sox manager Alex Cora told us Price does not have a circulation issue and cited carpal tunnel syndrome. Cora said Price will rejoin the team in New York on Thursday. He has allowed 16 earned runs in 17 innings over his last three starts.
“Tomorrow is a big day for us,’’ said the manager. “If he can throw his bullpen and be ready to go, he could go Saturday. But we haven’t ruled anything out. We’ll sit down with him tomorrow and map out a plan. As you guys know, we need him.’’
When I asked Cora if Price’s malady might be attributed to playing video games, the manager said “no,” adding, “From what I know, David Price has played video games his whole life. There’s a lot of teams playing ‘Fortnite’ [more on that later].’’
Just about every person Price’s age plays video games, but none of them make $217 million playing baseball and none of them miss a start in New York this week due to carpal tunnel syndrome.
We certainly don’t know the source of Price’s injury, but every definition of CTS cites video games as a possible cause of the syndrome. CTS occurs when one of the major nerves to the hand is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist. It happens to some people who type a lot. It happens to gamers and eSport competitors.
I haven’t played a video game since the Ms. Pac-Man machine was hauled out of the Iron Horse at the Old Garden, but according to Jen McCaffrey’s May 7 report in The Athletic, “Fortnite” is all the rage in the Red Sox clubhouse.
According to McCaffrey, “The multiplayer game is set in a post-apocalyptic world where players are tasked with searching for survivors and resources, while gradually eliminating all your foes. The object is to be the last survivor at the end of each 100-player round.’’
Swell. The story reports that Chris Sale, Craig Kimbrel, Xander Bogaerts, J. D. Martinez, and Price are among a dozen or more Fortnite fanboys.
Here’s what Price told The Athletic:
“Let’s say we get back at 11 p.m. from a game, we’ll play until 1 a.m., 1:30 a.m., 2 a.m., depending on what time our game is the next day. But day games or off days, we can put some time in . . . You can lose track of time whenever you’re playing it . . . I’ve got an Xbox. I’ve got my own backpack for it. I can put it in anywhere.’’
So there. We have our goofy story from this epic May series in the Bronx.
The Detroit Tigers famously lost their 100-miles-per-hour rocket righty Joel Zumaya because he played too much “Guitar Hero.’’ The Cleveland Indians lost Trevor Bauer in a 2016 playoff game because Bauer injured his hand fooling with a drone.
And David Price missed the big Yankee series, possibly because of too much “Fortnite.’’
Dan Shaughnessy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org